Espedair Street by Iain Banks.
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Personal Studies Essay - Espedair Street by Iain Banks "Two days ago I decided to kill myself." This extreme quotation is the opening line in the novel 'Espedair Street' by the Scottish novelist, Iain Banks. The book is based around the life of a famous rockstar and, due to the first person narrative, gives an in-depth insight into the troubles and joys, before, during and after his reign of fame. I originally selected this text because I found the blurb very intriguing and thought the modern humorous storyline would appeal to me. I later discovered that the story was set primarily in the south west of Scotland, so I found it enjoyable to be able to relate to the various locations and the colloquial dialect used by the characters. In this essay I am going to highlight the techniques that Banks has used, to give a deeper meaning into the quite conventional storyline. I have chosen to concentrate on the narrative structure developed in the novel, the setting and the characterisation of the main character. I will also indicate the ways that these techniques affect the presentation of the theme throughout the text.
This area signifies an unsatisfying time in his life and is used as the establishment of an equilibrium. The change in setting indicates the beginning of Daniel's disruptive journey from rags to riches and back again. During the height of his fame Daniel spent his time travelling from hotel to hotel and visiting luxurious villas all over the World, but for some reason he never felt entirely comfortable with his surroundings. When the band eventually split he returned to Scotland and bought an abandoned old monastery in the centre of Glasgow, which he lived in, isolated from society. Here, he does feel comfortable but he is never actually happy and often feels sad and lonely. The technique that I found most effective, was the way the character of Daniel Weir was developed constantly during the book. Daniel, also known as 'Weird' along with several other aliases, is a thirty-one year old reclusive rockstar who has a cynical attitude towards life and is intensely introspective. Throughout his childhood he struggled to fit in with his peers and had a troubled relationship with his parents.
To highlight his happiness at the end, Banks mentions a "bairn on a trike, the streamers flowing behind him like a rainbow wake," which symbolises a colourful and joyous time in his life. I also feel there is another message conveyed in the text, which is the power of redemption. Daniel Weir is clearly not a religious man - this is shown by his disrespect and comical attitude towards the church he lived in - but throughout his life he is granted a second chance on most of his mistakes. In conclusion, I found that the techniques used in the book were thoroughly effective and each carried out a different purpose. I found the writing style highly enjoyable and the different themes very thought provoking. The highlight of the book for me however was the continual puns and word associated jokes used in the text, which made me analyse it much more deeply. The main one of course is in the title of the book, as 'Espedair' is an almost perfect anagram of the word 'despair'. This again highlights Daniel's journey from despair to a rainbow of hope, which he somehow manages to find at the end.
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